BEIJING, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — The international community lauded Chinese President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech on Monday at the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) being held in Shanghai, which called for joint efforts to build an open world economy.
Xi underscored the role of economic globalization, saying that it is “an irreversible trend of history” and provides a strong momentum for world economic development.
“What we mankind can do is to understand, adapt to, and apply the law of history instead of trying to prevent it from happening. The wheel of history, indeed, will keep rolling forward no matter what,” Xi said.
Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin agreed with Xi’s remarks. He said that as the rise of trade protectionism worries countries around the world, Xi expressed China’s staunch support for multilateralism and free trade.
It is a way to create wealth and achieve development and the consensus of most countries, Raffarin said, noting that world peace and development should be realized through cooperation between all countries, instead of by bullying the weak.
“I think President Xi’s speech was very fantastic and very important. I think it’s going to be a milestone in the history of trade at a time when globalization and multilateralism are threatened,” Chairman and CEO of L’Oreal Jean-Paul Agon told reporters.
Xi made a “very strong statement that China is opening up and wants to open to the world. China is taking the leadership of trade and globalization,” Agon said, adding that he is very confident in the Chinese market and L’Oreal is very confident about the future.
Tamas Matura, an assistant professor at the Corvinus University of Budapest and president of the Central and Eastern European Center for Asian Studies, said he sees the important message that China can be a “reliable and trustworthy commercial and business partner.”
Ivona Ladjevac, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Politics and Economics in Belgrade, Serbia, said China’s launch of its first CIIE coincided with the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening-up.
The expo is not only a commitment to the reform and opening-up, but also a commitment to building a more open world economic order, said the expert.
The move also sounds the bugle against protectionism and unilateralism, said Ladjevac, adding that China’s commitment to globalization will not only help China realize a steadier economic transformation, but also add new impetus to the world economy and multilateral trade.
To build an open world economy, Xi said that “countries need to pursue an open policy, explicitly oppose protectionism and unilateralism” and strive to enhance opening-up at both multilateral and bilateral levels to make the economies interconnected.
Nina Ivanova, chairman of the presidium of Belarusian Society of Friendship and Cultural Relation with Foreign Countries, said that Xi sends a message in his speech to the world that China will adhere to its basic national policy of reform and opening-up.
China has not closed its door when it keeps robust economic growth, and it has become more open, which is of great significance to the world economic growth and other countries’ development, Invanova added.
David Gosset, a senior expert on international relations and founder of the Europe-China Forum, said the Chinese president told the international community that China is ready to trade with the world.
While there is worry about trade imbalances with China, China demonstrates that its success is there to be shared, said Gosset, adding that the CIIE shows that China is not a threat, but an opportunity.
Sudheendra Kulkarni, ex-chairman of Observer Research Foundation, an Indian think tank, said as a major contributor to global economic growth, China is showing its attitude of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation.
Kulkarni added that the CIIE, the world’s first import-themed national-level expo, shows that China is bringing positive influence to the world economy with its own growth.
In the speech, Xi said China will unswervingly follow a win-win strategy of opening-up, adopt high-quality policies to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and move toward nationwide opening-up that coordinates the coastal and inland areas and connects the eastern and western regions.
Xi’s speech showed that China attaches great importance to developing foreign trade and continuing its reform and opening-up policy, said Sergey Sanakoev, head of the Russian-Chinese Analytical Center, adding that China’s trade policy fully embodies its sincerity and openness.
China will inject new impetus into the global economy and trade, which is the best practice of the Chinese concept of building a community with shared future for mankind, Sanakoev said.
Joe Anderson, mayor of the British city of Liverpool, praised China’s commitment to further broadening its opening-up, saying that Liverpool has greatly benefited from China’s active participation in international trade.
The friendship with Shanghai and other Chinese cities has brought a great fortune to Liverpool, the mayor said.
He expressed the hope for a wider and stronger cooperation that will benefit both sides, saying the China-Britain “Golden Era” is bringing opportunities for the future of bilateral trade and investment.
Vinod Madhavan, head of trade at South Africa’s Standard Bank, also welcomed China’s win-win strategy of opening-up, saying the CIIE offers a chance for Africa to join the chain of global trade, and will provide opportunities for African countries and companies which are seeking export-oriented growth.
(Chen Junxia, Zhang Xin, Zheng Kaijun, Liu Lina in Shanghai; Wang Huijuan in Belgrade; Wei Zhongjie, Li Jia in Minsk; Ying Qiang in Paris; Zhao Xu in New Delhi; Liao Bingqing, Luan Hai in Moscow; Liang Xizhi in London; Jing Jing in Johannesburg; Alessandra Cardone in Rome; Askhan in Ulan Bator; Alona in Kiev also contributed to the story.)